Secret Gardens of East Anglia

I was kindly sent a copy of this book back in mid-August to read and review.  Apart from browsing through it then reading properly I’ve also read various excellent blog reviews as well.

Each of the 22 gardens has a handful or so pages which include brief details of the property and owners and the garden in more detail. There are plenty of photos, including a full page one and a montage for each garden.

Barbara Segall‘s writing is exemplary and had me nodding and smiling at times.  For instance one chapter starts…On the occasion of their ruby wedding Peter Swete gave his wife Denny a garden shed.  It was the perfect gift. 

Marcus Harpur’s photos are superb, be they general views or a close up of a single flower.  There is one notable full page, Narnia-like, monochrome  photo looking up the stepped canal at Hunsworth Hall, Norfolk.

A garden which caught my eye in particular is Hoveton Hall, Norfolk, the chapter on which starts…Water, Wildlife and Walled Gardens.  There is a large glasshouse, one walled garden is complete with a cottage and the lake attracts otters!

I did a double-take when I read that Kirtling Tower, Cambs has some 80,000 narcissus and 3,000 camissa that flower later in the same field!  And if you like tulips then Ulting Wick, Essex is the garden for you as it has 10,000!


Whether you prefer formal or informal, cottage garden or exotic there is something for everyone in this book, not forgetting vegetable growers.  How about this iron tunnel planted with runner beans at Helmingham Hall Gardens, Suffolk.


As well as Beth Chatto’s foreword, there is an introduction, a map and opening information, a small index and acknowledgments.

This is a book that I’m sure I will be taking off the shelf time and again to browse through or enjoy rereading about all these wonderful gardens.

Sadly Marcus Harpur, the photographer, died in early August just a few weeks before publication.

My thanks to Aimee at Quarto for asking if I’d like a copy to read and review, and for sending it to me.

Have a good weekend!

Author: Flighty

...allotmenteer, armchair gardener, blogger and sofa flying book buff.

18 thoughts on “Secret Gardens of East Anglia”

  1. It sounds like a wonderful book with beautiful photography, very sad about Marcus Harpur. I think only a gardener could understand how happy Denny Swete would be at receiving a garden shed for her birthday.


  2. There are so many “secret gardens” out there and it was good to read about the ones in East Anglia. Temptation to visit! (I’ve been given a compost bin for a present and was delighted to receive it, so understand the feeling about receiving a garden shed.)


  3. Lovely review Mike. I’m hoping to see those 10,000 tulips next spring. I got a second hand and renovated poly tunnel for my birthday. I was so thrilled with it! Have a good weekend x


  4. Only gardeners can understand the delight of being given a garden shed. What a thoughtful gift 🙂 It’s a wonderful book – I hope it tempts you to go visiting. I hope to see Ulting Wick at tulip time.


  5. Thank you so much for your lovely words about Secret Gardens of East Anglia and about Marcus’s wonderful images. I so enjoyed meeting all the garden owners and writing about them and their gardens. They are such creative people and it was a pleasure to see their gardens… so do hope you and those that have commented will come to visit our wonderful gardens.


    1. Barbara hello, and thanks for your nice comment. I’m not surprised at what you say as it was reflected in the book with your words and Marcus’s pictures. xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.